Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe insists his side’s Carabao Cup run will not have a detrimental effect on their Premier League campaign.
The struggling Cherries sit second bottom in the top flight after registering just two wins from their opening nine league games.
They entertain Sky Bet Championship Middlesbrough in the fourth round of the cup on Tuesday and, despite their poor early-season form suggesting they could be in for a relegation scrap, Howe is targeting a place in the quarter-finals and the prospect of a busier fixture list.
“We want to get as far as we can,” he told afcb.co.uk.
“The quarter-finals await the winners on Tuesday and the games take on a different meaning then.
“The most important game is the next one.
“I don’t see it as a distraction (from the Premier League), it’s a game we want to win.”
Bournemouth should go into the game with increased confidence after picking up their first away points of the season with a 2-1 victory at Stoke on Saturday.
While he is keen for his team to be in the hat for the last eight of the competition, Howe plans to rotate his squad against Boro, as he did in the previous rounds against Birmingham and Brighton.
“We always prepare the team to win and I believe in the squad,” he said.
“I need to keep the squad harmony good and give opportunities to some players and the chance to develop other players.
“There’s a whole host of reasons I might change the team but I believe in all of our players.
“If you look at the bench on Saturday, there were plenty of regulars for us over the last few seasons so I have no hesitations in changing the team.”
Bournemouth’s lower-league opponents, who were relegated from the top flight last season, have also endured a sticky spell, failing to win any of their last five games.
Howe, however, expects a tough battle.
“They’re going OK, we know how difficult the Championship can be in terms of physicality, and we’ve had tight games against Middlesbrough in recent seasons,” he said.
“We know a lot of their players from previous battles and I’m sure both sets of players will be well prepared for the game.”